TA Top Five: Scientists

By Jonathan Barnes, 1 year ago
Science plays a pretty big role in the narrative of many games. Few things make better sources of conflict than advanced science gone awry and few things make better resolutions to conflict than the application of advanced science. With my day job of working at a Science Center, it only felt natural for me to take charge of this week's Top Five (suggested by TheJadedSage) focusing on the best scientists in video games.

As always, if your favorite scientist isn't mentioned, it's because I personally do not like him/her, you, and everything they have ever done with their lives and careers, and not because I didn't think of them myself... also it's science.

Dishonorable Mentions

Science Advisor - Civilization Revolution
Gah muzschika!  ~Actual Quote"Gah muzschika!" ~Actual Quote

Seriously, what is this guy saying? I thought my Plant Biology 105 TA back at THE Ohio State University was incomprehensible, but this guy takes the cake. Seriously, screw this guy... and every other advisor in CivRev.

Gordon Freeman - Half-Life
Freeman's Law - When presented with a mysterious object, always whack it with a blunt instrument.Freeman's Law - When presented with a mysterious object, always whack it with a blunt instrument.

Hear me out. I know that everyone LOVES Half-Life, but can you honestly say that Gordon Freeman is a "good scientist"? The first rule of science is always safety, but when presented with mysterious, unlabeled crates, Doctor Freeman whacks them with a crowbar without ANY CARE WHATSOEVER! I thought the scientists in Prometheus were irresponsible, but clearly they were just following Freeman's Law of Mysterious Objects. Furthermore, he doesn't contribute anything to a conversation and characters seem generally amazed when he figures out a simple switch puzzle. I'm starting to wonder if his PhD in Theoretical Physics from MIT was more of an honorary degree.

Honorable Mention

Victor Barisov - Singularity
In Soviet Russia, you experiment on scientist!In Soviet Russia, you experiment on scientist!

This is more of a sentimental pick for me, seeing as how Raven made a HUGE tease about more Singularity this week (I'm sincerely hoping this tease was/is more than just the developers playing the multiplayer on Twitch). Barisov has a PhD in Quantum Physics and a Master's in Biochemistry. If that's not enough to get your capacitor fluxing, also consider the fact that he invented the Time Manipulation Device and was considered Russia's Einstein. Here's to hoping we get a little bit more of that E99 sweet, sweet time juice out of Raven in the near future!

Top Five

5- Piero Joplin - Dishonored
If you need to kill people dead, leave it to a natural philosopher.If you need to kill people dead, leave it to a natural philosopher.

Piero is basically the "Q" to Corvo Attano's "Bond" in Dishonored. He invented Corvo's iconic mask, crossbow, and folding blade. More importantly, he developed Piero's Spiritual Remedy that recharges Corvo's dark powers. Sure, he may have a peeping problem and he might be a little... odd, but he's definitely an amazing scientist. Here's hoping he plays a part in a sequel.

4- Dr. Catherine Halsey - Halo
One part monster, one part geniusOne part monster, one part genius

Dr. Halsey kidnapped all of the kids that became the second generation of Spartans, replaced them with clones (who died shortly thereafter) and was, basically, a war criminal. She also created the best weapon that humanity ever conceived and gave us the tools to win the war against the Covenant. One thing is for certain, she is nothing if not interesting and I can't wait to see what they do with her in Halo 5: Guardians.

3- Yi Suchong - BioShock
ADAM is a canvas of genetic modification... but Plasmids are the paint."ADAM is a canvas of genetic modification... but Plasmids are the paint."

One could give this spot to Brigid Tenenbaum, but it was Suchong who unlocked the power of ADAM, developed most of the plasmids, and helped create the Vita-Chambers of Rapture. Unfortunately (for him), with genius also comes hubris. This ego led Suchong to sow the seeds of his own demise when he created the Little Sisters and Big Daddies. One of the best parts of BioShock Infinite's "Burial At Sea" DLC was having Suchong along for the ride and learning more about his work, methods, and ultimate downfall.

2- Leonardo Da Vinci - Assassin's Creed II - Revelations
No you're not interrupting, I'm just busy being the smartest man of my era."No you're not interrupting, I'm just busy being the smartest man of my era."

This is almost cheating considering that if you put together a short list of the best scientific minds to ever exist, Da Vinci would easily crack the Top Five, but his presence in Assassin's Creed II through to Revelations makes Ezio a veritable Batman with all of his wonderful toys.

1- Mordin Solus - Mass Effect
Had to be me.  Someone else might have gotten it wrong.Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.

Come on, he is the very model of a modern Major-General!

...I mean "scientist salarian".

mic drop

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.